Timing for a girls’ weekend couldn’t have been more perfect (at what age do I have to call us “ladies”? Never, please?).  I was home from Germany for only four weeks and the getaway just happened to coincide.

This group picks up right where we left off; commas end our good-byes.  Soon enough, conversation gurgles and swirls, an easy-flowing meander in the way men will never understand but women intrinsically know.  Talk was common, the parts of our lives we miss during the in-between, the long gaps of not being with one another, the game of catch-up.

They wanted to know about Germany, and because (understandably) I’ve been asked so many times, I felt like the little old lady who tells you EXACTLY how she is when you ask, reciting acres of infirmity.  Except these days, due to my husband’s job, my list sounds like an ad for Travelocity.

How do you explain your impressions after drinking from a gushing fire hydrant for seven months?  

I give a condensed, practiced response, the one I share until and unless someone really wants to know more.

One of my girlfriends wants to know more, but it’s not about Germany, per se; she wants to know about me.  And, yes, her lips are doing the asking but, my God, her eyes are penetrating mine and she takes hold of my heart, and with both hands squeezing, wrings hard.

“How are you doing with all the changes you’ve gone through the past year?  How’s your heart doing?”

I hadn’t seen it coming.  Buoyed by laughter and connection and stories, sitting on that bedroom floor with the wall holding me up, I didn’t realize my guard was completely down.

I shook my head slowly no, unable to speak, tears burning my throat and stinging my eyes, my own body betraying me…revealing secret hurts.  Relational void, disappointment, rejection, loss.  These are First-World Problems I’ve convinced myself, only someone with material excess would dare to ache over these things.  I’ve never worried about my next meal or clothes or a roof; my marriage is 25 years strong and my husband loves me more now than he did then, and my three children are well on their way to becoming the young adults I prayed they would be.

How dare I complain out loud or to myself when blessing abounds?  The material, yes, but every spiritual blessing, too.

* * * * * * * * * * *

For most of my years, life has been filled to the overflow.  I’m naturally wired to see half-full glasses and silvery linings and shiny bright sides.

And yet here I am, barely able to speak, exposed, in front of God and e v e r y b o d y.

This season of Eeyore was foreign, unwelcome, uncomfortable…and messin’ with my head, heart and soul something fierce.  You see, I’m inclined to believe life isn’t fair; not in the “poor me” kind of way, but quite the opposite:  it’s not fair how much I’ve received.  I was fighting the urge to look at the Unfair Life from the other side.

In this fallen paradise, though, isn’t the Unfair Life this life?  Doesn’t it serve to remind us we’re not made for this world?  Is it not the Unfair Life that stirs a longing for Eternity’s door?

And yet, there’s this Kingdom life, here and now; and is the source of my heartache that I forget where I live, that I sink like Peter because I’m too busy looking at the waves, and without even realizing it, forget that Jesus is right there?

* * * * * * * * * * *

Her question was match lighting soggy fuse and it didn’t do me a bit of good to try to stop those blasted waterworks.

Just then, Jesus-with-skin-on opened her mouth.

“Come right here,” she said, patting an empty spot on the bed next to her.  “We’re gonna pray for you.”

I shook my head no again and whispered I can’t and she gently insisted Yes you can…right here (patpatpat).

All the other ones gathered round and close.  They touched me with their hands and with their hearts and with their words.  They pressed blessing and understanding and healing deep, deep, deep into marrow.

How did they know exactly what to pray?  I hadn’t given them details–but in the beautiful, mysterious ways of God, He led them through the veins of my ache and ministered love through these heart sisters.

It could have gone another way, it certainly has plenty of times before.  No telling how many times I’ve been asked “How can we pray for you?”; probably the same number of times I’ve asked “How can I pray for you?”  

Sharing prayer requests can be a good thing, communicating information that might not otherwise be known.  But so many times in my experience, we’ve done more talking about the requests than praying for them.

That day sitting in the center of a bed raw and exposed and snubbing like a baby, with sister-friends surrounding me and loving me out loud, I needed the difference between talking about and praying for.  Even if it was a little awkward and I was embarrassed later.

Those holy moments of intercession and my friend’s divine prompting to PRAY and not ASK, have had a beautiful, residual affect in my own life beginning with my own children less than 48 hours later.

Tell me your stories; as you read my account, did it spark a memory when someone prayed for you and it made all the difference in the world to your battered heart?  Or perhaps a time you prayed for someone in the moment?  Or maybe when you’ve been too timid to pray right then, and instead asked how you could pray later?   These are the stories of our lives ~ “…let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,” okay?

If you’re a parent to a college student or know others who are, I’ve found a wonderful prayer guide to lead you in praying for this challenging and demanding time of life.  Might you share it with your college pastor or someone you care about?

By Robin Dance, author of PENSIEVE, who’s patting the spot next to her, gently insisting for you to Come here!

comments:
share:
  • Pingback: The Death and Redemption of a Stepford Mother | A Deeper Story()

  • http://galwaygal12.blogspot.ie/ sonika

    Thank God for the friends who ask about hearts and pray with trust that Jesus knows, even if we don’t…

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Sonika,

      Yes! They’re treasures not to be taken for granted.

  • http://plantedoak.wordpress.com kris

    robin…thank you. didn’t know how much my pent up heart needed to be reminded that my seemingly small hurts and grief and broken upness in the middle of a great, great life are still needing to be surrounded by love and poured out. even if it’s just out loud to my jesus, but especially when god is giving us the one another’s just for that loving on we need so much. xo —-kris

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Kris…hon…we DO need that lovin’ on, don’t we? Can we agree that it’s okay to need? xo to you

  • Julie

    Thank you Robin for the reminder that even when we are hiding our hurts and fears,He sees. Sometimes knowing that the God who flung the stars in the sky sees me, hears the cries of my heart, the ones I don’t dare speak out loud, and sends stretcher-bearers to lift me up to His throne, to His grace…the thoughts overwhelm me! Thank you for this…

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Julie!! Stretcher-bearers? Oh, yes, I like that one. Thank you, heart-sistah.

  • http://shadowwonder.blogspot.com/ shadowwonder

    **Love** this!! Oh, the experience of being known *well* and prayed for in a deep, rich way. There’s something uniquely power-full about it, and your rendering captures that so beautifully.

    It also reminds me of a longing: Three years ago, God opened the door for me to teach full-time. It’s probably a blessing, though, that I didn’t realize something: saying “yes” to His invitation would trigger some substantive changes in my friendships. Now, some of the dear friends I prayed for (and who prayed for me) have moved on . . . . .

    I know my Father sees my heart’s desire to know others well, and to be known. He was fully aware of this need (created it, actually), even as He led me into a season where such relationships have been difficult to sustain.

    Your post encourages me to keep praying expectantly . . . . to trust Him to show me how He plans to nourish this heart that is hungry for those soul-sustaining friendships.

    So . . . . thanks!

    • http://pensieve.me Robin Dance ~ PENSIEVE

      ShadowWonder,

      Your comment is preaching back to me :). But let’s hold fast to this: seasons are seasons and don’t last forever; if we’re in “this” place, it’s for a reason….our good and God’s glory. I’m praying for you RIGHT NOW because, as one of your heart-sisters, I KNOW how deeply we crave Jesus-with-skin-on friends. {{hugs}} in the meantime

      • http://shadowwonder.blogspot.com/ shadowwonder

        Robin, you are so right. Thanks for the encouraging words.

  • Erica

    I found about this website on Twitter. Please pray for me as I don’t know what to pray anymore and I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m tired of my life. Thanks

    • http://pensieve.me Robin Dance ~ PENSIEVE

      Erica,

      I’m praying for you now trusting that God desires the intercession of the saints, and that He alone knows your need best. You sound tired…I’m praying for rest for your soul, your spirit…and that in this place peace will rise and you will know God more intimately. He loves you and gave His life for YOU! Hold fast to this truth…and please…keep waiting on Him. There’s a glorious story waiting to be written for your life! I’m thankful Twitter led you to a place where you are loved and cared about.

      • http://shadowwonder.blogspot.com/ shadowwonder

        Erica–I know we haven’t met, but I’m saying a prayer for you now, also . . . . asking God to show Himself to you . . . . that He’ll remind you how He has hemmed you in all around (I like to think of it as being tucked, all cozy, in His pocket) . . . . . that you’ll be able to sense His heart for you . . . . that your soul will taste rest today.

    • http://therunamuck.com Amber@theRunaMuck

      I’m praying, too, Erica.

    • http://www.momentsandinvitations.com/ Dana Butler

      Adding my prayers to these, Erica. God is so committed to your heart and your life and to making Himself known to you. Praying He’ll reveal to you the depth of His commitment to you.

    • Erica

      Thanks to every one of you who prayed for me. I honestly don’t know about my life anymore. I pray, I read the Bible, praise, etc… As “church” people, I think a lot of us have been conditioned to put on a “everything’s alright face.” A mask to pretend that we’re full of joy all of the time; to act deep and religious. Well, I can’t “act” anymore. It is written in Proverbs 17:22, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” The way things have been going on in my life for the past 2 years up until now, I can’t tell that God personally loves me or that I’m even valued, needed, or wanted anywhere. I hear it all of the time but actions speak louder than words. For you all who have “true” friends that have never betrayed your trust….YOU ARE BLESSED. You have people who talk to you daily and actually care how your day has been…YOU ARE BLESSED. You have someone to hug you with a real hug…YOU ARE BLESSED. You actually experience the presence of God and He answers your prayers and has given you family and friends who truly love you and value you…YOU ARE BLESSED.

      • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

        It sounds like you have endured a hard, years’ long season, Erica; I’m sad to hear such pain in your words. Faith isn’t based on feelings–they’re so deceptive!–but on the truth in Ancient Words, Holy words, Truth…the heart of God. You can tell God personally loves you and values you because he took time to record those messages in scripture. For you. Me. All of us. Because we wouldn’t always feel his love, his presence. People disappoint us, betray us, hurt us.

        But make no mistake–you are loved. (I’m praying for you.)

      • Erin

        Erica – let me pray for you now…
        “Heavenly Father, You know this dear daughter of yours is in pain. Father, Please be with Erica, be present with her. May she feel Your peace today, send her Your comforter to assure her that You are there, that You do love her. Father, You give good gifts, please bless Erica with the gift of godly friendship. Surround her with people that will speak Your words of love and truth to her. Father, I pray that You would protect her from the lies of the enemy that would try to convince her that she has no worth – Lord – You sent Your son to die for her! She is valuable in Your sight. Bless her this day, may You be glorified in her life. In Jesus’ name, Amen”
        I will be remembering you in my daily prayers for the next week. Peace to you.

      • Beth Williams

        Erica,

        Praying for you right now. May God reveal Himself to you as “real” and surround you with His loving arms!

        It is perfectly alright to be “real” with people. Your true friends will be understanding and comfort and pray for you. I have often found that I can’t pretend anymore. Sometimes during church the tears just flow–from thinking about what “God” did for me on the cross!

        So go ahead be real, open and honest! Praying God’s blessings on you!

    • http://dschondog.wordpress.com Dawn B

      Erica – I am praying for you. Sometimes a season of whatever just seems to go on and on and on. I am praying you do not lose hope. As I was praying for you just now I got a picture of you in a strange place and you were looking at the directory of the place, you know one of those big maps that has a red arrow that says, “You are here.” You say you do not know where you are in your situation and you are tired. You never ever know when that directory will pop up. It could be right around the next corner. Trust that Jesus knows and put your hands in His. Hope is stored up for you in heaven (Col. 1:5). In Jesus you always win. Please tap into His richness. He loves you so very much. {hugs}

      Dawn

      • Erica

        Thanks and I truly don’t mean to sound negative or rebuff everything that everyone is saying. But for the past two years I’ve heard it all. Every religious cliche, I’ve been told to sow financial seeds and God is going to turn things around. I’ve been unemployed for two years and have been rejected from every full-time job I’ve applied for, I continued to give my tithes faithfully even when on unemployment and have sowed financial seeds believing that God was gonna turn it around….guess what…it never happened. I’ve been told so many times, “the worst of your season is over, you made it through, God is turning it around now.” Guess what, the worst only started over again…and again…and again, two years later, it’s still the worst. I’ve trusted and believed the “prophet” so many times and was only betrayed, persecuted, and mocked. One leader even said, “if you’re gonna kill yourself then I’ll take the blessings that God has for you,” and then he laughed. I don’t trust church anymore. I don’t trust church leaders anymore. All of those times I attempted suicide, I wish God would have just let me die. I never imagined my life would be anything like this. I will not be writing or commenting here anymore as with all of your prayers they are nice, but I’m not experiencing his comfort, peace, or anything godly. No support system and not one human friend in this world. Why does He keep waking me up to misery and isolation? Why doesn’t He just let me die. I’m living dead anyway. I don’t matter to anyone and I’m definitely not needed. I’m only good for being used by people.

        • Connie Starkey

          Erica, you matter to me. I don’t know where you live geographically but I do know you live in my heart. I’ve experienced many of those same hurts…feeling that day after day, week after week, things just feel that they are being piled on top of me. I didn’t think I could take another hurt, another rejection, another loss. I felt forsaken and I lost my way. I still prayed but they were spiritually empty. I went to church but nothing resonated with me. Until I almost lost my life…taken literally to my knees. At that moment God spoke to me. No, it wasn’t an audible (grin) but he spoke clearly and I felt his presence. He made me realize that I was here to serve others and not until I was humbled before him on my knees did I see. It’s not the coins in my pocket, not my personal feelings of grief or hurt, it’s how I use what I have to serve and witness. I love you and I pray for you. I want you to open your heart to God and stand before Him as an empty vessel so that He can pour blessings onto you. Take it day by day, moment by moment. Look outside of your life and into the lives of others. I need you. They need you. Most importantly God needs you and loves you.

          • Erica

            Thanks, the refocus on ministry is actually making a difference. I’m sensing His presence and have experienced more inner peace today than I did yesterday.

            Grace and Peace to you, Connie!

  • http://embracingrace.com Leah

    I’m a pastor’s wife and I know I need to work on this. I am often prompted to pray with people, but sometimes don’t because I don’t want to make THEM uncomfortable. But this post makes me realize that I need to do it anyway. I remember all of the times when people did that for me and it meant the world to me. Thanks for this!

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Leah,

      I understand about making others uncomfortable; but when you speak a word into someone’s life who is dying on the inside? Precious beyond measure, all glory to God :).

  • http://www.christyfitzwater.com Christy Fitzwater

    Oh man, I want to be that kind of person to people! I just walked with an older woman in our church Sunday night, as she was going to our pastor’s office to pray for us during our worship service. I said, “Hey, let me pray for the person who’s gonna pray for us!” And I wrapped my arms around her and prayed right into her ear. It’s good to pray for someone right in the moment you think of it. I knew she was grieving the pain of divorce in the holiday season, and it was good to hug and pray at the same time. Thank you for this powerful article -such a good truth!!!

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      So, so SWEET, Christy! Thank you for sharing.

  • Suzette

    As I was reading this piece tears were streaming. Like you, until those eyes reached through mine deep into my heart and soul, I was able to “look fine” to passersby! A couple weeks ago, as I was meeting with my 2 co-leaders for our daughters’ AHG (American Heritage Girls) group, it happened. We had been talking about all the upcoming events and making some decisions, when one of them looked deep inside and I lost it. These are such faith-filled ladies, and I began to cry and explain that my husband’s illness and near death for the last couple years was taking it’s toll on our 30 year marriage. They immediately came close and held my hands and began praying. I couldn’t speak, but simply sobbed. It was “a moment of truth” where God put these beautiful ladies to touch me deeply so that I was assured that He was there. Thank you for sharing and connecting…The Holy Spirit moves among us!!
    Suzette

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Oh, Suzette,

      What a difficult journey; what a powerful moment. {{hugs}}

  • http://www.barefoothippiegirl78.blogspot.com Barefoot Hippie Girl

    A friend who probes deeper beyond the pat answer, and then prays with you is a treasure beyond all treasures. I have a few friends like that. And I am so thankful for each.
    I totally loved this post. Thanks for sharing.=)

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      BHG,

      Thank you for reading; your friends are blessed that you don’t take them for granted…. :)

  • http://www.OurStoriesGodsGlory.blogspot.com elise daly Parker

    A beautiful post. No matter our blessings, we all hurt, cry, and NEED prayer! Sometimes I can’t identify my sadness…yet it’s there. And I need my family or my awesome God friends to lift me back up into the hands of God. Thank you for your transparency.

  • http://www.courageousjane.com Courageous Jane

    Beautiful!
    This takes me back to the day when I was helping to lead a large event for girls, but grief over my dad’s passing and Irritable Bowel Syndrome and lactose intolerance all convened on the morning of the event, leaving me sick and in tears. We were to set up all morning, and the event was starting in the late afternoon. I arrived to set up, but ended up back in my vehicle, on the phone with my husband, crying about how I just couldn’t go back in. He told me the event would be ok without me. I went just inside the doors and found someone who I could tell that I was sick and going home. I did just that … went home and went back to bed for a few hours. When I woke up, I was feeling at least well enough to return for the actual event. When I got there, the team actually placed their hands on me and prayed so earnestly and with such heart … I’d never experienced that before. I felt embarrassed that a moment had become about me. Such a big event, and this team was taking a time out to pray on me. I became well enough to get through that whole event, even running from back stage to the back of the audience several times. Such a powerful memory you’ve brought back to me! Thank you!

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Wow, Jane…thank you for telling this story. I’m so glad you were prompted to remember!

  • http://www.handpaintedbymona.com Mona

    I receive updates from DaySpring and while I was on their website looking at the Charlie Brown Christmas Advent Calendar, I happened to see at the bottom, a tasteful, postage-stamp sized link to another website that I had no idea was going to be for me, “just what the doctor ordered”.
    Today is the last day of my stay-cation, and I am grieving the loss of being at home for one week. I have to go back to work tomorrow, and while it pays well, is only part time, and is a useful tool for God to use me, I WANT TO STAY HOME!! :o)
    There, I’ve had my hissy fit.
    I just want to let you know that I’m grateful for finding this website for women, and I hope that you know how grateful I am to be comforted by these stories of your lives.
    Thank you,
    Mona (in the frozen chosen tundra of Vermont)

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Well, now, Mona…I think this is the first time anyone has had a hissy fit in response to one of my posts…ha! I love it :).

      Thank you for sharing how you found incourage; you’ll find it to be a wonderful place to hang out during your online time.

      (you’re pretty cute, I can just tell it!!)

  • Sheila

    I am a strong believer in prayer and the lovin on by friends.. Right now my heart is breaking literally. My daughter had some bad feelings about her brother and tpld her dad in confidence, he went and told her brother everything and betrayed her trust. I was talking to her this morning and without realizing it I said that he her brother was upset,Iam so used to sharing with her and it just came out….she wanted to know why and I said you Dad told him some of your e-mail. Now she was screaming and cry ing saying everything is her fault and she is not talking to know about her feelings and her husband is bad about something her brother said,and so she is going to stop telling him anything also. Please girls pray for this situationn I told her to keep praying and she said why God doesnt seem to be answering,I have been praying so much,please hold us up in prayer. Than-you and God Bless!!!!

  • http://aflowerforyou.blogspot.com Sarah

    I’m a very relational being, but after my son was born (2 years ago), I felt like relationships outside of my home just couldn’t happen. I had to give everything to my son and to my husband, which in my mind, left no time for me. It was when I shared these feelings with my husband about a year ago that God started opening doors for me to experience those girlfriend relationships that I craved so much.

    He placed five amazing women in my life and I am so thankful He did. One evening when we were all having a girls night and chatting about motherhood, work, marriage and Pinterest, one of those dear women asked us all if we had any prayer requests. Just like that, the evening went from small talk to God talk. We all, one by one, without even realizing what was happening let our guards down and spilled our hearts out. We all cried. (Even those who try to stay strong and never shed a tear). We were raw, vulnerable and just plain blubbery. But it was one of the best times of worship I had ever experienced. We held each other and prayed for each other in ways that can only happen when you allow the Spirit to fall and move.

    That night we left changed and even more in love with our Savior who had brought us all together.

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Beautiful story. And that husband of yours is a keeper ;) :).

  • http://marinaskitchentable.blogspot.com Marina Bromley

    My heart beats for missionary care, for caring for global workers, here, near and far away. To see them sustained not just financially, but physically, emotionally, spiritually. YAY God for putting that in your friend too!!

    YES! I changed my “habit” of saying I’d pray for someone’s problems, or them, when they asked for prayer a few years ago. If someone says “would you please pray…” then I stop what I’m doing and pray THEN!! It’s a great way to put your words into action, and they know that you ARE praying for them!!

    Thanks for your post!! I’m encouraged by it, and posted your borrowed prayers for college students on our (in)couragers FB page to share. I’ll link your post to our blog site too for {relatively}empty nesting… It is perfect!!

    • http://www.pensieve.me Robin Dance

      Ahhh, what an example you’re setting, Marina; you challenge ME to follow likewise (about praying).

      And thank you for sharing my post about praying for college students! It was so wonderful when I received it via email, I HAD to share! I’m thankful the writer agreed to let me put it out there :).

  • http://drgtjustwondering.blogspot.com Diana Trautwein

    How do you DO THIS, Robin? You read my mind and my heart in some sort of weird, providential, wonderful way. This essay? This is my theme song this past year or two. Stop telling me how to pray and let me pray for you. OR as you tell me, let’s acknowledge out loud together that we ARE INDEED PRAYING as we talk. Do we think God isn’t here? Do we think God doesn’t know the deepest desires of our hearts before they even become words? Too often, prayer gatherings turn into a long recital of needs followed by prayers using exactly the same wording that we’ve just shared. So – let’s open our eyes and our minds and yes, our hearts, too – and acknowledge that God is here all.the.time – and whatever we say in conversation with another believer is, in reality, a 3-way conversation. Maybe we’d be a whole lot more thoughtful with what we say in ‘ordinary’ conversation that way. For sure, we’d be more in tune as we pray. Thanks so much for this. So much.

  • http://hamershappenings.blogspot.com Lisa

    Your friend has a special gift to be able to see through your eyes and discern that truly things were not all right. I want to be that kind of a friend. What a blessing!

  • Leslie

    I was in a MOPS group recently and don’t really know the women that well. At the closing we each shared a request except for the woman next to me. She teared and shook her head no, “there’s just too much to share”. The group leader moved on. As the leader closed in a general prayer, I felt compelled to pray for this hurting woman. At the close I scooted up next to her and said I would like to pray for her specifically. So, I prayed. She cried. When I was done, she opened her heart and shared. I was given the chance to encourage her with words of God’s never leaving, never stopping, never giving up, always and forever love. I felt full and blessed by Holy Spirit.

  • Diane

    This post has me in tears… I so need my friends to pray for me and I just don’t know how to ask. So many friends & neighbors are dealing with problems so much worse than mine and that is part of my pain, seeing them dealing with this. I pray for them, but I don’t have the heart to ask them to pray for me.

    We’ve had a very difficult year and it’s taking a toll on me physically, emotionally, mentally, and even in my faith. I’ve always been blessed with a happy outlook on life, but somehow I’ve lost my way.

    My younger son (21) lost 2 close friends in the 1st week of the year, one our neighbor across the street. Being 1st on the scene & holding his mother as she cried over her son’s body is something I can’t get out of my mind. It brought to the surface all my worries & vulnerabilities over my own 2 sons. Other neighbors are dealing with the deaths of their husbands, seriously ill parents, children with drug issues, and I lost my own mom less than 2 years ago.

    It’s spiraled out of control and I’m physically sick with worry over our finances, my grown sons both being out of work & lost & depressed, to the point that worried about my own health & ability to keep coping and supporting everyone who needs me. I’m empty & exhausted in every way.

    So I’m asking you all to pray for healing for me & for my sons, especially the one who lost his close friend. I know that finding jobs would make a huge difference for them, and relieve some of my worry. And I need to find the courage to ask my friends for their prayers… despite their own difficulties. It just makes me feel so selfish to ask for prayers for myself. Thank you for your support, it means a lot.

    • Judy

      Just reading through the comments Diane and I’m pausing here to pray for you – so exhausted with all your love and care for others – that as you wait on the Lord, He will renew your strength, and for your boys, that He would graciously provide meaningful work for them, and that He would send the Holy Spirit to comfort your son in his loss.

      You are not selfish to ask others to pray – just another pilgrim struggling through a hard patch of the journey – it is a privilege to help lift you up over this steep section.

      • Diane

        Thank you, Judy, thank you! I know that every prayer helps, and it encourages me to have your prayers.

        I know I need to learn to ask for help for myself when I need it, in order to remain strong to help everyone else. I have spent too much energy pretending to be okay. I am going gather my courage to post a request for prayers on my online prayer group.

        I so appreciate your taking the time to answer my request, in addition to your prayers! I am sending back a prayer for you, that someday when you need help & encouragement, someone will be there to lift you up.

  • Veronica

    I read every comment and weep because of needs and many burdens that we all bare. I can only imagine what God says when he knows our every thought before we even speak of it. Is that not a blessing??

    I would love for you to pray with me and my daughter-in-law. I love her dearly, but she refuses to get close to us and its tearing our family apart. We love her and tell her that we love her, but maybe something in her past allows her to keep her distance from us and God is not happy about our family situations. Where does one to turn too, but to God and He alone is worthy to carry this heavy burden, but He does require us to share them with each other. Pray for us and we will appreciate it!

    • Diane

      Veronica, I’m praying for you & your daughter in law, to open her heart to your love. I’ve struggled through a difficult at times relationship with my own mother in law, in which I felt she was not as open to a loving relationship as I would like. Things did gradually improve between us. She is now my former mother in law, and we still have a good relationship.

      As the mother of two sons, I always pray that when they marry, their wives will be loving women who will be happy to be part of our family. I make a sustained effort to be close to their girlfriends, so that we’ll have the right start if it comes to marriage someday.

      I hope things will improve for you & your family!

  • Pingback: A little survey to respond to (please), and A good resource to use for our kids… | {relatively}empty nesting()

  • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp

    Robin?
    Your words here? Are the strongest, most exquisite, most vulnerable words of yours that I have ever read.
    And that moment?
    Etched.
    You couldn’t have urged us here better.
    I pray I never forget.
    (((you)))
    There are no words.
    Just forever hearts —
    Your Jonathans…

    • http://therunamuck.com Amber@theRunaMuck

      Good grief. I’m bawling.

    • http://donnagiftnew.wordpress.com Donna

      Ann, You wrote so well what I was feeling. Her words were exquisite. And I’m glad she has Jonathans forever. This whole exchange was just beautiful.

    • http://gratituesday.blogspot.com/ Jill Roper

      I like that Ann, your Jonathans. I had never heard that in reference to women before. Thanks for sharing.

  • Anne

    This post didn’t go at all where I thought it was going to go, and where, frankly, I wanted it to go. I understand fully the love- and spirit-prayer that you received at this gathering you describe, and I have been blessed by such prayer in the past. But I so prefer that someone ask how they might pray for me, rather than presume that they know what prayers are needed. I have known presumptive prayer to cause damage–not the prayer itself–but the presumption. Not long ago such a prayer set off an exchange that caused deep and lasting hurt. Yes, God knows the reality of my heart and circumstances, carries my pain and provides balm for the deep ache that penetrates my soul. God will sort it out and separate the wheat from the chaff of good intentions . But in the meantime the day in and day out relationships that we need to sustain us through good times and bad can suffer when we think we know what another needs, and when we think our prayer is of more value than the soul for whom we pray.

    It is wonderful that you received the love and comfort shown and expressed to you through the outpouring of prayer that didn’t require you to say what you needed.
    A careful balance is also necessary to keep us mindful that we are vessels of the holy One.

    • http://barefooton45th.com Lesley

      I think this is a good reminder, Anne, but it seems (in my opinion) it’s much more common for people to ASK how to pray rather than letting God lead us in our prayers. In almost all the bible studies I’ve ever been part of, we spend 30 minutes sharing prayer requests (which often turn into vent sessions) but praying never actually happens. I think Robin’s reminder is sometimes we are so weak, we don’t even know how we need prayer. That is when the most beautiful, Spirit led prayers can occur and my, they are a blessing like nothing I have experienced.

  • http://www.athirstforGod.com Summer@a thirst for God

    Good stuff…your vulnerability…your giving permission. Thanks Robin.

    It was thanksgiving and it surprised us both. She was raw from her mother’s funeral 20 years before and she had felt abandoned at that tiny church with the open casket, Mama passed away too soon. What a privilege to put my arms around one of the giants of my faith and watch Jesus walk straight up to her, hold her close. What a privilege that Jesus knew she needed to be loved at the place her mama had to leave…and gives us the chance to be a part of it all.

  • http://www.margaretfeinberg.com Margaret

    “But so many times in my experience, we’ve done more talking about the requests than praying for them.”–so true. Been there many times

  • http://www.nancyaruegg.com Nancy Ruegg

    Confession Time: I gladly pray for others, sometimes on the spot, sometimes on the phone. But I hesitate to ask others to pray for me, as if that would indicate my faith is not strong enough to handle the situation. M-m-m. Might pride be an issue here?! Your post prodded my thinking toward the realization even Paul asked others to pray for him (1 Thes. 5:25; 2 Thes. 3:1). So why struggle alone when a bevy of family and friends can come alongside to help carry the load? In addition, with the lightened load comes strength, peace, joy. And those praying enjoy the blessing of being used by God. How senseless of me to hold back and not share my personal requests with others!

  • http://www.momentsandinvitations.com/ Dana Butler

    Robin… What an encouraging post. I love your heart… and your friend! Who is she? I want to meet her! (I’m half kidding… half not! :) haha…) I tend to be that person… the “but how are YOU doing/how is your HEART???” person. It’s just the way I’m wired, I guess. I want to get down to gut level and know the real STUFF of heart-journeys…. Anyway, I’ve been a little discouraged in that lately by a few comments made by friends…well-meaning, of course. But discouraging nonetheless. So your post today is a breath of fresh air to me, and an encouragement from the Father to keep at it.

    And… just thank you. Thank you for being real and honest and sharing your heart here today. You are one of my faves. :)

  • http://Www.chickflickdiva.com Delonna @ Chick Flick Diva

    Thank you for your post today. I have a group of friends that are such prayer warriors for me. We have been getting together for over 10 years and our prayer time is one of our favorite parts of our get togethers.. We’ve prayed for those deep hurts, hard to figure out circumstances and have learned to love each other unconditionally. Those prayer times are precious and I’m glad you allowed God to speak to you through your friends. What a precious gift.

  • Melinda

    This was exactly what my heart needed this morning. My heart is tired, fearful, wounded, bleeding. I struggle to keep my eyes on Jesus instead of the waves. The storm has gone on for so long that I am weary of its ever ceasing. Oh please, please pray for me. I need to feel I am not alone.

    • http://gratituesday.blogspot.com/ Jill Roper

      HOney, you are not alone. The struggles can become so overwhelming that it seems easier to give up. Please don’t. God is right there with you in that storm. He is keeping you from drowning. I was a pit dweller once and understand the overwhelming sense that you are alone. But sweet sister, that is a lie straight from the pit of hell! Satan wants you to think you are alone but you aren’t. I promise you, God will never ever abandon you.

      Father, please wrap your arms around Melinda right now and help her to feel your presence. Send your Spirit to speak truth into her life. Please bring some hands and feet of yours to touch her body and soul. IN Jesus precious name.

  • Victoria

    What an encouraging story! I love this practical reminder-sometimes it is easier to talk about praying instead of doing it! A story from my life: my sister and I were regulars at our neighborhood coffee shop when I was in early college. There was a sweet barista who always knew our orders and names. One evening my sister and I stopped by to get coffee and our barista friend was there. A simple question from my sister-How are you doing tonight?-opened the floodgates and she started to cry uncontrollably. It was one of those situations where no questions could have helped. So my sister and I literally went around the counter and laid hands on her and prayed. She was not a believer at the time, but over the course of a few years and continued relationship, she accepted Christ and loves The Lord!

  • http://www.rachelwallace.ca Rae

    My mama is an expert at this one. Praying over the phone. ALWAYS feels awkward at first. Always such a blessing!

  • http://vickithunstrom.blogspot.com Vicki

    Thank you for this post! It inspired me! Last night I had a friend over and we are doing a discipleship study together. She asked for prayer about a personal issue and rather than promising to pray later, I grabbed her hands right then and there and prayed for her! We were both blessed!

    Thanks again!
    Vicki

  • Molly Gerdes

    wow…this is so good. Thank you SO much!! This past Sunday at church, the pastor was talking about how sometimes it’s so easy to GIVE love…but it’s always harder to RECEIVE love. And it hit me square in the eyes. That’s totally me. I am always praying or listening or hugging or being the shoulder to cry on. And I get in this rut that everything in my life is ok and I give the memorized response because I have to live up to people’s expectation that I’m ok. But really on the inside, I am breaking and worrying and crying and wondering why life hurts to much and I just want to collapse in a strong embrace and have Jesus wash over me through someone’s prayers and words of encouragement. But pride so gets in the way and I don’t let people in because I think that the things I am going through are trivial and they don’t really matter anyway. What a lie that is! And God is teaching me, patiently and graciously, that it’s ok to go up to someone and say, “I’ve just been dumped on. Can you please love on me?” Thank Jesus for friends who stop everything they are doing and do just that. And what a beautiful wash over of love that flows…sometimes through tears, sometimes through laughter, sometimes through silence. But the beautiful healing that begins when we let down our guard, be real and raw, and let people in on the real us. That’s where real relationships are born. That’s when Jesus comes with skin on and we see love. And not just see it or wish for it…but feel it. For real. And hang on.

  • http://gratituesday.blogspot.com/ Jill Roper

    This reminded me of a time when I had gone to a Women of Faith conference with the ladies in our small church. My husband and I had come to minister full time and it was very tough to feel a part of the group with less than a year there. During one of the breaks we sat where we were and I started with some tears over the last speaker. She was talking about grieving the loss of a child. I am in that exclusive group of mom’s that have buried not one child but two. They all knew we had lost children but didn’t know the story. When I shared the story of our son David’s last three days on earth it felt fresh again. One of the younger women told me thank you after it was over. She said I had always come across as a great teacher and friend to all but had never gotten personal and shared my struggles. She said it made me much more human. I learned a lot that day. She did pray over me and I was blessed.
    Thank you for being vulnerable that day and allowed your friends to pray over you.

  • Kristi

    Erica,
    I am sorry the leader at your church said those hurtful things to you.

    Know you are loved and beautifully made. Know that you are wrapped in Jesus’ arms of love whether you feel it or not.

    I will be praying for you.

  • Beth Williams

    During this season of my life I have seen the Christian praying put into action. My little church has prayed for my aging dad–but more they ask about him, send him cards & made a fruit basket for him. My pastor and his wife even drove 40 miles round trip to visit him one day. All that speaks volumes to me.

    I feel truly blessed by God to know and be a part of this group of great Christian people! They show Christ in every way!

  • Hannah

    I love this so so much. I am recently realizing how INCREDIBLY blessed I am to be surrounded by so many heart sisters, and wonderful, solid, friends who know how to love each other well. That we somehow find the time in between the craziness of exams and everything else we have going on (we’re in college) to cram into a tiny room and worship and pray over each other until our voices are gone. It is so powerful and so sweet and it is beginning to change lives. There is such a difference when you allow the Spirit to lead and you speak those words of truth and encouragement in prayer right then. It warms my heart just thinking about it!! Thank you for writing this!

  • Pingback: reading | What you have, I don't want.()

  • http://www.16ballsintheair.com lib

    Oh Robin!
    I felt every word of this post and it certainly got my waterworks going! You are so gifted – overflowing even!!
    I have a friend i consider my “intercessor” we speak once a week and trade life stories on a heart level and pray together. I have no idea where the words come from when I pray – i feel like a gold miner who’s just found a vein. and When she prays for me – same thing.
    I think the hardest part is being vulnerable when I’m not caught off guard – my walls {seem} so solid most of the time…I’ve just practiced taking them down with my intercessor because of scheduling, but don’t like doing it generally. Your post reassured and challenged me to drop the drawbridge with more people!

    Many blessings!

  • Melanie

    “drinking from a fire hydrant for the last 7 months” – I love that! That’s exactly how it feels to move here to Germany! Thanks for the encouragement.

  • http://www.chasingblueskies.net Kristen Strong

    Oh my, Robin. I pray I never forget your wise words here.

    What would we sisters do without you? I’m so glad we don’t have to find out. You are a treasure, and I couldn’t possibly love you more. xoxo

  • Ann

    My Women’s Bible is full of Women so godly that they can see to your very soul. They are quick to pray for anyone they can see needs it, even when that person isn’t even so sure. Like you, I have felt reticent or embarrassed accepting their prayers, but I have not once regretted it. The love of God pours out through those prayers. I also am able to reciprocate in later weeks without fail and when God gives me the words that their hearts need, it feels just as special as when they speak what I need to hear. This is not a gift to refuse!!!